I was on a date in Aspen, a town whose authenticity I questioned until I met genuine, easy-going Mike. We were having drinks at Cache Cache, hoping a dinner table would open up at fondue spot La Creperie. In a surprising twist, I wasn’t the first one to bring up local crime rates. Mike enlightened me on the dark side of living in Aspen, which reminded me of a crime I’d noticed in the paper and was anxious to discuss… (Need to catch up on Part 1? Click here!)
First off, I freaking love local papers. You can tell a lot about where you are by what tone papers take and what constitutes as ‘news’. The NY Post and Daily News mix bawdy attitude and scandal in a way that’s honest to their hometown. My favorite front page was after Ted Cruz first condemned Donald Trump for having ‘New York values’: the Statue of Liberty gives Cruz the middle finger and tells him to go back to Canada.
You wouldn’t see a front page like that in Connecticut.
The Aspen Times was regularly chronicling a scandal so surprising, so unthinkable, so unexpectedly violent; it was everyone’s mountain fear come true. Every day was a new development. It had the whole town gossiping, trading versions of detail and motive. Excitedly, I asked Mike: Have you seen that story in The Aspen Times?
His face opened into joy: Tits-deep!
“Tits-deep” was the acknowledgement-turned-rallying cry that you were following revelations as they unfolded. What I hadn’t already pieced together through a mix of print journalism and gondola gossip, Mike filled in:
It’s the morning after a thick fresh layer of powder. A skier and snowboarder share a lift and comment on the great conditions. As they near the top, Snowboarder comments to Skier, whom he didn’t know, that it’s easier to get faceshots of powder on skis than on a snowboard.
I just want to be clear this is a news event, treated with the seriousness of homicide, in which the term “faceshots” is repeated regularly. Please imagine Walter Cronkite reporting this.
Snowboarder talking smack about faceshots then adds his unsolicited scientific analysis: “To get tits-deep pow shots you just need to be on your edges.”
Tits-deep!!! Direct quote.
Skier receives this with hostility. Why? Who the hell knows, why is any of this happening? Skier turns to Snowboarder and inexplicably asks: “Are you making fun of me?”
Snowboarder allegedly thinks Skier is joking, so his smartass says: “Not really -- But maybe.”
That is never a good answer.
Did you cheat on me? Not really -- But maybe.
Are you more attracted to my sister? Not really -- But maybe.
Are you a registered sex offender? Not really -- But maybe.
Only pricks say something like that. So naturally—
Skier grabs Snowboarder and fucking PUSHES HIM OFF THE CHAIR! Snowboarder plummets into that abyss we’ve all envisioned is how we meet our maker. It’s 9:30am and Skier's already attempted to kill someone! Those are not mountain vibes, dude! Aspen is ROUGH. And get what happens next:
The lift attendant notices the incident and stops the lift. BUT AFTER SKIER HAS ALREADY GOTTEN OFF AND SKIED AWAY. Stopped by no one. By the way, those lifts in Aspen are not fast. For the attendant to witness someone plunge more than two stories, then take so long to push a button, is some delayed reaction. That is next-level stoned. Good thing he wasn’t operating heavy machinery or anything.
Down below, Snowboarder landed in a snowdrift. Is an ambulance on the way? Of course not. He hikes out himself Revenant-style and decides he’s going back to the ski run: he’s gonna wait for that motherfucker. Snowboarders don’t mess!
So here’s what badass, ‘tudey Snowboarder does: He gets to that run and he waits. He waits a whole few minutes before he realizes he doesn’t want to miss the tits-deep pow shots, quits waiting and takes off. He boards through the afternoon and reports his attempted murder six hours later. Clearly no one in Aspen is in a rush. I’m sure he didn’t even drink the incident off at a bar because no one in Aspen does.
Naturally this salacious story stole the headlines from the other major news item in Aspen that week: the closing of the local McDonalds. I brought that up with Mike next. He met the topic with similar enthusiasm:
Yeah, man! McDonalds closed!
In Aspen, even discussing the news kept my brain in the ‘off’ position. It was as if the outside world didn’t exist. Luckily for us, La Creperie survived the town’s fickle culinary taste – David called! He had a table for us. We made it to the restaurant without getting mugged or assaulted on Aspen’s mean streets. The only crime committed over dinner was how much raclette we ate. I swear, I’m never eating cheese again. …Unless you’re going to La Creperie and want company, then I’m in.
After dinner Mike walked me back to my hotel and I felt like I was in a coma. In retrospect, eating cheese till your face falls off is a terrible first-date strategy. At that hour we were deep into the evening, but we weren’t going to be tits-deep. All I wanted was to put on sweatpants and have my cholesterol checked. Aspen may have hokey news, and fake après ski, but the cheese – the cheese is very, very real.
**Quotes source: Auslander, Jason. “Skier who pushed snowboarder to be charged.” The Aspen Times 1/22/2016